tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN January 9, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PST
adviser. i worked with him in the '80s on the strategy to defeat the soviet empire. if you're worried about the iranians in iraq, develop a strategy to replace the iranians dictatorship and iraq will be fine. if you want to stop wahhabiism, get an american energy policy so no american president ever bows to a saudi king. then you can put pressure on the saudis because you have enough american energy to stop this. >> governor romney, let's -- you have said that you would not send troops in right now. but give us a sense of the trigger, what would it take for you to send troops back in? >> it's a very high hurdle. the decision to send our men and women into harm's way is one which will be made with great seriousness and sobriety -- >> what kind of things? >> you can't begin to say, but
it would have to require significant, dramatic american interests. you have to have a president explain the interests and indicated how we'd go in. we'd go in with exceptional force. we'd indicate how we'd define also when we're completed, how we get our troops out and what's left behind. the president didn't do that in libya. the president hasn't done that anywhere. i find it amazing that we have troops in harm's way around the world and afghanistan right now, in iraq, in the first three years of this president's term. he doesn't go on tv and talk to the american people about the sacrifice being made by the men and the women. a very few number of families are paying the price of freedom in america. the hurdle to put in our troops in harm's way is very, very high. the test is america's interests. our security interests. and they have to be involved at a very significant way to deploy our troops. >> i want to give congressman paul a chance to weigh in here, because a lot of people think
foreign policy is your achilles heel at getting elected. you think that a nuclear iran is none of our business. how do you reconcile that -- >> i think that's a misquote. i don't want iran to get a nuclear weapon. i voted to go after bin laden. this when to go in, i think we made it much more complicated than it should be. yes, the president is the commander in chief, but not the king. that's why we fought a revolutio. we could have saved ourselves a lot of grief if we had gone to war in a proper man. and let congressmen and senators make a declaration of war and we make these decisions. but we went into afghanistan, we went into iraq and now we're in pakistan. we're involved in so many countries now, they want to move
on to syria. and they -- there's some in washington now can't wait till they start bombing iran. we have to change this whole nature. something happened this week i thought was encouraging, it reminds me of how we finally talked to the chinese. they have killed 100 million of their own people, but we broke the ice by playing ping-pong. but today, the american navy picked up a bunch of fishermen, iranians, that had been held by the pirates and released them. and they were so welcomed, it was a wonderful thing to happen. this is the kind of stuff we should deal with. not putting on sanctions. sanctions themselves are always leads up to war. eastern europe is going to be destabilized if they don't have this oil. and this just pushes iran right into the hands of the chinese. so our policy may be well intended, but it has a lot of downside. a lot of unintended consequences. and unfortunately, blow back.
>> final word on this from senator santorum. >> well, ron, if we had your have been a fleet to pick up the iranian fishermen and the fact is we did have a beneficial relationship with picking them up and we have a very great relationship and which should be much bet we are the iranian people. the iranian people have come to the streets, have taken to the streets repeatedly and still do trying to overthrow their president and we had a president of the united states who stood by as thousands were killed on the streets and did nothing. in fact, he tacitly supported the results of the election. ahmadinejad announced after polls were closed that he won with 60% of the vote and the president of the united states said that sounds like a legitimate election. obviously a chicago politician. but that's not what a president of the united states does. he doesn't get up and condone this behavior and turn his back on the folks in the street.
when i was in the united states senate, i pushed to help those revolutionaries before the revolution, to give them resources. to make sure that we had the relationships so because i knew and if you take polls they do, in iran, the iranian people love america because we stand up for the truth and say and call evil which is what ahmadinejad and the mullahs are and we need aat to help them do what is necessary which is turn that regime out. >> we have to go to break. much more to come. be right back. why do we have aflac...
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so you're asking clear -- you're asking the constitutionalist here. >> do you believe that states have that right or not? >> george, i don't know whether the state has the right to ban contraception. no state wants to. >> you've given two answers to the question. do you believe that the supreme court should overturn it or not? >> do i believe the supreme court should overturn -- do i believe the supreme court should overturn roe v. wade, yes, i do. >> go ahead, senator. >> i didn't know whether -- i didn't know whether i got time when it was favorable or not. but thank you. no, i think the fourth amendment is very clear. it is explicit in our privacy. you can't go into anybody's house and look at what they have
or their papers or any private things without a search warrant. i'm don lemon at the cnn headquarters. tonight cnn is bringing you an encore presentation of the abc/yahoo/wmur new hampshire more in a moment but first a check of your headlines. one year ago today, gunfire at a tucson, arizona shopping center left six dead and 13 wounded including gabrielle giffordss. several events took place including a vigil on the university of arizona campus. giffords and her husband, mark kelly, will be there. crowds of people packed public spaces across syria again today demanding the ouster of president bashar al assad. opposition activists say at least 21 people were killed in attacks throughout the country. officials from the arab league again condemned the violence and said they will increase the size of their monitoring mission in syria.
north korea is marking what's believed to be the birthday of newly installed leader, kim jong un. a documentary that aired shows the son of kim jong-il in his role of military leader driving a tank, inspecting troops and rising horses. most analysts put the new korean leader's aides at either 28 or 29. prominent political adviser and d.c. pundit tony blankly died after a battle with stomach cancer. he was on former white house newt gingrich's staff from 1990 to 1997 and later served as a political commentator for nbc and npr and on "the washington times." he also was a speechwriter in the reagan administration. more of the new hampshire debate right after this. cnn is bringing you a special encore presentation. for my arthritis, i use new capzasin quick relief gel. (announcer) starts working on contact and at the nerve level.
right now and specifically the ideas the candidates have, individual, unique ideas for creating more american jobs. and specifically jobs asking about what we think created the age of american energy which was infrastructure. >> infrastructure, and we have an example of that in new hampshire. if you traveled i-95 north you probably went over what was a widening project that's going on, about $350 million away from getting the project completed. a lot of people here think this is a very important project to get done in terms of our regional economy. so the question is, again, infrastructure. with the increasing demands on our roads and bridges and the aging roads and bridges, how committed would you be, and we'll start with you, governor romney, to invest not so much as a stimulus package, a true economic growth package on our infrastructure? >> well, there are certain things that government can do to encourage an economy and rebuilding an infrastructure that's aging is one of those. we had my state, 550 structurally deficient bridges.
we've got to improve our bridges. improve our roads. improve our rail beds. improve our air transportation system in order to be competitive but fundamentally what happens in america that creates jobs is not government. it has its role. but by and large, it gets in the way of creating jobs. it's taxed too much. it regulates too much. it has energy policies that keep us from using our own energy. it has trade policies which too often favor people that are taking jobs away from us, so we're going to have to have government change its orientation to be encouraging the private sector. and fundamentally what it makes america, the most productive and the wealthiest nation of the major nations of the world, our gdp per capita. our income per person in america is 50% higher than that of the average person in europe. why is that? it's because of the entrepreneurial spirit of the american people of the ability of americans to innovate, to create. we have a nation which is based upon opportunity and merit. we draw people here who seek freedom. and these people have built enterprises that employ and that
make america stronger. we have a president who has an entirely different view. he wants us to turn into a european-style welfare state. and have government take from some to give to others. that will kill the ability of america to provide for a prosperous future and to secure our freedom and give us rights which have been in our declaration of independence and our constitution. i believe in an america that's based upon opportunity and freedom, not president obama's social welfare state. >> speaker gingrich, i know you agree with governor romney again on his views on president obama but how would your plans on job creation distinguish you from a governor romney? >> you're talking about infrastructure? >> infrastructure and more broadly job creation. >> let's theic with infrastructure which i think is a big and important topic. you cannot compete with china in the long run if you have an inferior infrastructure. you have to move to a 21st century model and you have to be technologically smart and, for -- and you have to make investments. so, for example, here, the northern pass project ought to be buried and should be along the state's right of way which
means you're using modern techniques to bring electricity from quebec to boston in a way that preserves the beauty of new hampshire. i would have an energy program designed to get us free from saudi arabia, iran, venezuela. two-thirds of the government revenue from that would go to debt reduction and the opaying off the debt. one-third would go for infrastructure which would give you the act to have an infrastructure program that would actually get us back on track. and you look at places like the highways you're describing, the bridges, if you don't have some systematic investment program then you're not going to be able, i think, to compete with china and india. >> governor huntsman, where's the money going to come from? >> we've got to earn our way forward. there's no question about it. governors learn how to pay the bills. in order to pay the bills, you've got to expand your economic base. that's the problem we have in the united states now. we read about the jobs that have ticked upward in this country and we're all very happy about that. we're providing people more in the way of real opportunity.
but think of where this country would be if during the first two years of barack obama, you would -- it would have had a different president. i would have ripped open the tax code and i would have done what simpson/bowles recommended to the tune of $1.1 billion. we've got a corrupt tax code. you've got to say how are you going to pay for it? we've got to stimulate some confidence in the creative class in this country. right now, they're sitting on their hands. and they're not going to have a more optimistic view of our direction. >> you have the same amount of revenue as simpson/bowles plan. that was the commissioner appointed by president obama. would anybody else on the stage agree? >> i'm sorry? >> to raise the kind of revenues called for in the simpson/bowles commission? >> no, no, i wouldn't. in fact, our plan puts together a package that focuses on simplifying the tax code. i agree with jon huntsman on that. five deductions. health care, housing, pension, children and charities. everything else goes.
we focus on the pillars that have brought consensus to this economy. important sectors of our economy, including our children. the corporate side, we cut it in half, 17 1/2%. i do something different. i'm very worried about a sector of our economy that has been under fire. i come from southwestern pennsylvania. the heart of the steel country. the heart of manufacturing. and it's been devastated because we are uncompetitive. 30 years ago, we were devastated because business and labor didn't understand global competitiveness. and they made a lot of mistakes. they weren't prepared for it, we lost a lot of jobs. that's not what's happening now. our productivity gains, our labor force, they're doing their job. they're being competitive but they're running into a stiff headwind called government. and it's government taxation. 35% corporate tax. which is the highest in the world. it's a tax that doesn't easily offset when we try to export which makes it even more difficult for us to export. >> -- for lowering the corporate tax -- >> -- to zero it out for manufacturers and processors. which is what i do. because we are at 20% cost
differential with our nine top trading partners on average. and that 20% cost differential, that is excluding labor costs. so it is government taxation, eliminating the corporate tax gets rid of a big chunk of that. it's regulation. this administration is on track. i think it's congressional research service, they look at regulations and they price the highest cost, ones over $100 million. and bush and clinton, there were 60 on average per year under those two administrations. last year under president obama, there was 150 of those types of regulations. >> senator, what's wrong -- >> i would repeal every one of them and replace them with ones that are less costly or not replace them at all. >> why not go to zero? >> to zero? there's no question it would be great not to have any taxes. unfortunately, we have to have taxes to pay for our military, to pay for the programs that pay for those who can't care for themselves. but our taxes are too high. government at all levels during the days of john f. kennedy consumed 27% of our economy, about a quarter. today it consumes 37% of our
economy. we're only inches away from no longer being a free economy. and our democrat friends wants us to just keep raising taxes a little more. just give us a little more. government is already too big. we have to rein in the scale of the federal government. so we do need to have our employer tax rates brought down to be competitive with other nations. that's about 25%. we also have to make sure we give relief to people who need it most. the people that have been hurt in the obama economy are the people in the middle class. and so i've put in place the significant savings incentive. tax reduction. i eliminate any tax on savings for middle income americans. no tax on interest, dividends or capital gains, but i look long term to do what jon indicated. take bowles/simpson and reduce the rates in our tax code, limit the number of deductions that could occur and limit the number of exceptions that can occur. i don't want to raise capital gains tax rates as they do in bowles/simpson. broadening the base is the right way to go for our tax code long
term. immediately, let's get some relief for middle income americans. >> congressman paul, we hear over and over again, people are hoping for a great vision for america once again. america on the move once again. give us the great vision that is realistic given the financial situation, a realistic great vision for america. >> well, it's to restore america to our freedoms, restore america to our principles. that is individual liberty and our constitution and sound money. in doing that, you have to understand economics. you can't solve any of this economic crisis unless you know where the business cycle comes from and why you have bubbles and why they break. you have to understand we've had a financial bubble that's been going on for 40 years. it's collapsing. nobody quite recognizes it but we're in the midst of a real correction. the only way to get back to growth, you have to liquidate the debt. instead of that what we've done is the people who built up the debt on wall street and the banks, we've had the american taxpayer bail them out.
we bought it through the federal reserve and through the treasury, dumped it on the american people. the middle class is now shrinking. we don't have jobs. but if you're an individual or a businessman and if you're consuming everything you're earning just to finance your debt, you can't have growth. so we have to liquidate debt. this is the reason i call for cutting spending. the only one that's calling for real cuts. you have to have real cuts. that's what the republican party used to stand for. but you can't liquidate debt. you can't keep bailing out the debt. that's what japan has done for 20 years. and they're still in their doldrums. we did it in the depression. we're into this now for five years and it has to end. it's only going to end after we understand the business cycle. >> there is a vision. i mean, dr. paul, there is a vision out there, and it's to get america back working again. i mean, the idea that americans have lost confidence in washington, d.c., and lost confidence in wall street is a great example of where they want to go. they want washington out of their hair. they want less taxation, less regulation, less litigation.
there's a model for that in the state of texas over the course of the last decade. and if we will put those types of policies into place, we're sitting on 300 years of energy in this country. allow our federal lands and waters to be opened up so that we are the people who are developing domestic energy and we are not being held hostage by companies -- countries that are hostile to america. we can put this country back to work again in the energy industry, whether it's -- any of the energy industry side, whether it's solar or wind or oil and gas or coal. use it all. put the american people to work. allow those resources off our federal lands, dr. paul, to be used to pay down the debt. and i'll tell you one of the things that can turn this economy in new hampshire around is to pass the right to work law, and it will make new hampshire a powerful magnet for jobs in the northeast. [ applause ] >> governor huntsman --
>> diane, you hit right on it, and that is what is the vision for getting this country moving. we all have records. those of us who are governors, very specific job creation records. i delivered a flat tax in my state. we became the top job creator in the country. you can look at what mitt did in massachusetts. he was number 47, but more to the point, i went to lindy's diner and had a conversation with a guy named jamie who has a small motorcycle repair shop. he said when he grew up, it was bustling with activity. he said he had 30 different jobs growing up. he said there were four machine tool operations in that town. he said i remember the excitement, the enthusiasm, and all of the opportunity. and we had this conversation. i said, you know what, we're once again on the cusp of a manufacturing renaissance in this country if we do it right. china is going down in terms of gdp growth from 8%, 9%, 10% to 4%, 6%. as they go down in growth, unemployment goes up. we have an opportunity to win back that manufacturing investment. if we are smart enough with the
right kind of leadership to fix our taxes. no one up here is calling for the complete elimination of all the loopholes and the deductions where "the wall street journal" came out and endorsed my tax plan, that's what needs to be done. not tinkering around the edges. ifwe can fix our taxes, if we can move towards a friendly regulatory environment, this country can get back in the game again. we can rebuild our manufacturing muscle, and we can rebuild some of the job training opportunities we have lost. >> why not close all the loopholes as governor huntsman is saying? >> george, let me step back from that. i know you want to ask that question, nothing wrong with it and i don't want to be critical of the questions you ask and the other interviewers ask. i think the real issue is the vision for this country. i think people have to recognize that what's at stake in this election is jobs, yes, and balancing the budget, yes, and dealing with our extraordinary overhang from our entitlements. we have to make sure they're preserved. our entitlements, that is, that we don't kill the future of the country. we got a lot of issues we talk about. this election is about the soul of america.
the question is what is america going to do be, and we have in washington today a president who has put america on a road to decline, militarily, internationally, and domestically he's making us into something we wouldn't recognize. we're increasingly becoming like europe. europe isn't working in europe. it will never work here. the right course for america is to return to the principles that were written down in those first words of the declaration. we were endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. among them, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. we have the right in this country to pursue happiness as we choose. and as people pursue education and work hard and take risk and build enterprises of all kinds, they lift themselves and don't make us poorer. they make us better off. the question is, are we going to remain an exceptional nation, a unique nation in the history of the earth. that's what's at stake in they election. we have a president that does not understand in his heart, in his bones the nature of american
entrepreneurism, innovation and work. and that is something which we're fighting for in this election. i hope the people on this stage share that vision. but we must return america to the principles upon which it was founded if we're ever going to have a strong balance sheet, a strong income statement, create jobs, but have a bright future for our kids. >> speaker gingrich -- [ applause ] -- you just heard governor can -- romney make his case. you've made the case on several occasions that he's not the man to carry that message for the republican party. why not? >> well, look, i think that's a good message. and i agree with him. a little bit harsh on president obama who i'm sure in his desperate efforts to create a radical european socialist model is sincere. [ laughter ] but, you know, i think "the wall street journal" captured it the other day in their dialogue when their editorial board met and they said, i had a very aggressive pro-jobs program, zero capital gains, 12.5% corporate tax rate, 100% expensing for all new equipment
to dramatically modernize the system, abolish the death tax, and they said by contrast, their word, not mine, that governor romney's program was timid and more like obama. i would think those are fighting words and, frankly, if he wants to fight with the "wall street journal" on that i wouldn't blame him. i do think there's a difference between a bold reagan conservative model and a more establishment model that is a little more cautious about taking the kind of changes we need. >> josh? >> senator santorum, you just heard from both people on either side of you. enough substance there for you? >> well, look, i like the vision. as far as substance, i agree with speaker gingrich. i don't think governor romney's plan is particularly bold or is particularly focused on where the problems are in the country. the governor used the term earlier that i shrink from, and it's one i don't think we should be using as republicans. middle class. there are no classes in america. we are a country that don't
allow for titles. we don't put people in classes. maybe middle income people. but the idea somehow or another we're going to buy into the class warfare arguments of barack obama something that should not be part of the republican lexicon, that's their job, divide, separate, pit one group against another. that's not the language that i'll use as president. i'll use the language of bringing people together. and i'll also be able to show you that unlike some of the folks up here, that we have a consistent record of being the person to contrast ourselves on health care, for example. we're looking for someone who can win this race, who can win this race on the economy and on the core issues of this election. and i was not ever for an individual mandate. i wasn't for a top-down government-run health care system. i wasn't for the big bank or wall street bailout as governor romney was, and i stood firm and worked actively in the coal fields, if you will, against this idea we needed a cap and trade program. if you want someone that has a contrast, has a strong record, a vision for this country that's
going to get this country working and appeal to blue collar workers and deliver that message we care about you too, not just about wall street and bailing them out, then i'm the guy you want to put in the nomination. [ applause ] >> governor romney. >> my plan is a lot broader than just tax policy. the tax policy i've described is entitled to help people in this country that desperately need help right now, but there's more to it than that. we have to open up markets for america's goods. as the most productive country in the world. more output per person than anywhere else in the word. we have to open up markets for our goods. we isn't done this under this president. europe, european nations and china over the last three years have opened up 44 different trade relationships with various nations in the world. this president's opened up none. we have to open up trade. we have to take advantage of our extraordinary energy resources. at the same time, we're going to have to do something about the regulations in this country. as a party --
we talk about deregulation. what we're really shorthanding is we want to change old regulations that are crushing enterprise and put in place those that encourage enterprise. i understand how the economy works because i've lived in it. there are a lot of guys who spent their life in washington, have a very valid and important experience, but they've not been on the front line competing with businesses around the world. i have. i know what regulations kill and which regulations help enterprise. and i want to use the expertise to get america working again. and i'll come back to the point i made at the beginning. this is bigger than that issue. this is really an issue -- a campaign about the direction of this country. this is a choice. by the way, if we don't make the right choice this time, we may not be able to for a very, very long time. this is a critical time in the history of this country. >> governor huntsman, vision for dealing with china, competing around the world? >> listen, we have the most important relationship of the 21st century with china.
we've got to make it work. of course we have challenges with them. we've had challenges for 40 years. it's nonsense to think you can slap a tariff on china the first day that you're in office as governor romney would like to do. you've got to sit down and sort through the issues of trade like you do with north korea, like you do with iran, like you do with burma, pakistan and the south china sea. they're all interrelated. to have a president who understands how that relationship works would serve the interests of the people in this country. from an economic standpoint and from a security standpoint. >> i'm sorry, governor, you were the last two years implementing the policies of this administration in china. the rest of us on this stage were doing our best to get republicans elected across the country and stop the policies of this president from being put forward. my own view on the relationship with china is this, which is that china is stealing our intellectual property, our patents, our designs. our know-how, our brand names. they're hacking into our computers, stealing information
from not only corporate computers but from government computers, and they're manipulating their currency. for those who don't understand the impact of that, i've seen it. i've seen it. and that is, if you hold down the value of your currency artificially, you make your products artificially low priced and kill american jobs. that's happened here in this country. if i'm president of the united states, i'm not going to continue to talk about how important china is and how we have to get along. and i believe those things. they're very important. and we do have to get along, but i'm also going to tell the chinese, it's time to stop. you have to play by the rules. i will not let you kill american jobs any longer. >> under the rules, governor huntsman. [ applause ] >> i think it's important to note, as they would say in china, that -- [ speaking mandarin] >> he doesn't quite understand this situation. what he is calling for would lead to a trade war. it makes for easy talk and a nice applause line but it's far different from the reality.
you slap on tariffs, you talk tough like that. of course you have, that's got to be part of it, as well. in the end, we get a tariff in return if we don't sit down and have a logical, sensible conversation. who does that hurt most? it hurts the small businesses and the small exporters who are trying to get back on their feet in this country in a time when the nation can least afford a trade war. [ applause ] >> i've said it before, and i'll say it again. the last thing china wants is a trade war. we don't want one either. >> and we'll be -- >> but they sell us this much stuff. we sell them this much stuff. tell me who doesn't want the trade war. they don't want it real bad. and we've been listening for ten years from people talking about how why can't get -- hold china to the rules of free and fair trade, and if i'm president, i will hold them to those rules. and we'll respect each other but we are not going to let them just run all over us and steal our jobs. >> got to take a break. we'll be right back with a final word.
we're in the midst of a real big correction. the only way you to get back to growth is lick which dade the debt. but instead of liquidating the debt, we have had the american taxpayer bail them out. >> we have a nation based on opportunity and merit. we draw people here who seek freedom and they have built enterprises that employ and make america stronger.
we have a president that has an entirely different view. he wants us to turn into a european-style welfare state. >> you cannot compete with china in the long run if you have an infrastructure. you have to be technologically smart and make investments. >> we have to earn our way forward. no question about it. governors learn how to pay the bills in order to do that you have to expand your economic base. >> i'm don lemon in atlanta. you're watching an encore presentation of the debate. more of it in a moment. first a check of your headlines. british police say they have identified the body on one of queen elizabeth's royal estates last week and say it's a 17-year-old latvian student who had been missing since august. they haven't released a cause of death but say they are investigating. dna tests have identified that body. what's the worst case scenario on a bungee cord jump? a 22-year-old australian tourist
found out. over a river in zimbabwe on the border. >> oh. >> that is erin langeworthy falling 365 feet into the zambizi river after her cord snapped further than a football field. even worse, after hitting the water she had to swim through the rapids with her feet still tied together and felt like it felt like being slapped all over. she was bruised and suffered a broken collarbone. she was later evacuated to south africa for treatment. a russian tanker carrying much-needed fuel to nome, alaska, is expected to arrive by tuesday. the only ice breaker functioning is helping. nome has been iced in of weeks and runs the risk of running out of fuel before spring. that's a check of the headlines right now. the new hampshire debate
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it's saturday night again as we meet. >> so if you weren't here running for president, governor, what would you doing. >> i'd probably be at the shooting range. >> instead of being shot at. >> yeah. >> speaker gingrich? >> i'd be watching the college championship basketball game. >> football game. >> i mean football game. thank you. >> i'd be doing the same thing with my family. we'd be huddled around and watching the championship game. >> i'm afraid it's football. i love it, yeah. >> i'd be home with my family. but if they all went to bed, i'd probably read an economic textbook. >> i'd be on the phone with my two boys in the united states navy because they're a constant reminder of what is great about this nation and awesome about the emerging generation in this country. [ applause ] >> and on that note, once again, we thank you all. tuesday, the big primary in new hampshire.
and that is it for us here at st. anselm college in manchester. we want to thank all of you in the audience and your families. once again, your families are here, and we salute all of you who have spent your saturday night here with us too. and we thank everybody here in new hampshire for joining us, and stay with abc news. we have full coverage coming up. >> thanks to all the candidates. stick with us, everyone at home, we'll have full analysis coming up. we'll be right back.
we have full analysis on cnn right now. i'm don lemon in atlanta. you have been watching an encore presentation of the debate. let's take a few minutes to discuss this debate and where things stand overall in the republicans' battle for new hampshire. i want to start in manchester, of course, where senate political director mark preston is standing by with jim acosta. they have been on the ground tracking developments across that state. we also have two political strategists with us, michael denny is in manchester, he is a new hampshire-based republican strategist and robert zimmerman joins us from new york now. he is a democratic strategist and he has been watching the debates and following the race, as well. good to see all of you. thanks for joining us. appreciate you all participating. mark preston, let's start with you. the nation's first presidential primary already here. any reason to suspect mitt romney won't be the winner?
>> no. i mean, look. bottom line is we know that mitt romney will win on tuesday night. it's a foregone conclusion. he's been working the state ever since he lost his bid for the republican presidential nomination back in 2008. he's got the ground game, the money, the support. but, don, what we'll be looking for now on tuesday night is who comes in second, who comes in third and who comes in fourth place. what happened to newt gingrich who was doing so well in december only to come collapsing down under a whole spate of negative advertising and, look, what's going on with rick santorum. tracking polls show rick santorum who came out of iowa with such a boost is now starting to slip. that's what we're looking for, don. and, really, we'll have to see what happens because this is going to be what's going to happen. it will kick ahead to south carolina. and that will be the next fight, don. >> yep, and if mitt romney does all three, it's a sweep and that will make it very interesting. by all accounts it will be over then. so, jim, you spent time with the romney campaign today.
what was the mood? are they confident? >> well, you know, don, to be quite honest, today they were doing a lot of damage control. i mean, mitt romney had a pretty difficult debate earlier this morning. the nbc debate. he had all of the other contenders on that stage going after him. newt gingrich especially was trying to go after mitt romney, trying to draw blood with the pious baloney statement. when mitt romney said, hey, i haven't met a career politician. wait a minute, this is not true. we're going to go after this and newt gingrich finally did with that line about pious baloney. later on at an event in rochester, mitt romney was talking about his, you know, his -- i guess his struggles is what he was trying to talk about it in the economy. there were times in his life when he thought he might get a pink slip. that he feared for his job and that struck a lot of people watching this campaign as perhaps an off-moment for mitt romney. perhaps a bit of a gaffe.
later on in the day, the romney campaign had to come out with an explanation saying, well, governor romney was really talking about that time after he was coming out of college. there were some moments when his employment was not a sure thing. and so this was not a good 24 hours for mitt romney. is it enough to throw him off of his game right now and dash his hopes of winning the new hampshire primary? it would take a tim tebow-style comeback for one of these other contendners the -- contenders in the field to beat mitt romney. >> speaking of that tonight, we were all watching and know what you were talking about. jim, we saw new jersey governor chris christie there with mitt romney today. there was a moment he got heckled. i think it was christie kills jobs or something like that? tim, can you hear? >> oh, yes. i'm sorry. i thought you were talking to one of the other panelists. >> no, we're talking to you. >> there were some of the other panelists -- there were some protesters at the romney event
earlier this evening and they were initially saying mitt kills jobs, mitt kills jobs. those protesters were taken out of the event. then they tried to do it to mitt romney's top surrogate, chris christie. they were saying christie kills jobs, christie kills jobs. and then chris christie had a very new jersey-style comeback to those hecklers. he said, you know, something may be going down tonight but it's not going to be jobs. and he even added the line sweetheart, which i thought was not exactly staying on message for the romney campaign today. this was not a good moment for mitt romney or chris christie and they got out of there as quickly as possible. and, you know, it's not too surprising why. >> i want to get to robert zimmerman. he's a democrat in this party of republicans. how are democrats viewing this race? are you glad to see mitt romney in the lead? >> well, realistically i disagree with many of my democratic colleagues who talk about the republican party being divided or romney being an unpopular potential front-runner because the reality is, he
appears he'll be the nominee. and the republican party have every confidence it's going to unite and re-energize. the real issue is the price that mitt romney and the republicans are paying to achieve this unity. we have never seen republican presidential candidates or for that matter any candidate go to the extreme right wing these candidates are, whether it's mitt romney talking about deporting 11 million undocumented workers or newt gingrich saying he'll just overturn or not enforce supreme court decisions or rick santorum saying he'll just dismantle congress as president or for that matter, send our troops back to iraq, whether the iraqis want us there or not. it just speaks to the price they are paying for unity which plays into the obama campaign of making this a choice, not a referendum. >> michael dennehy, you are a republican strategist. this is your state. i was going to ask if you expect any surprises on tuesday. bottom line it for us. you know this better than anyone else. >> well, first, i almost agreed with robert for about the first 15 seconds. and then he lost -- he lost me
totally. you know, mitt romney is going to win on tuesday. he's going to win convincingly, and the democrats want the americans to believe that the republicans are all messed up and they're not going to get behind one person or another. there's been one contest. it's the state of iowa. there's going to be another one on tuesday and south carolina. and this is typical. this is how the process works. republicans are going to nominate someone. they're going to get behind them like robert initially said and they'll be energetic about it. but i don't think there's going to be any surprises on tuesday. i guess the biggest -- the biggest question is, what are conservatives going to do? a conservative alternative? the boat is so fractured right now that mitt romney is going to win convincingly until someone drops out, until there are some changes in the field. and with six candidates running, mitt romney is very strong and he's going to continue to get 30% to 40%. >> michael, i have literally 15 seconds here. i'll have to cut you off. anything different you have
noticed about this particular -- this particular time primary here in new hampshire than other times? >> i would just say the fluidness of this race and it's been up and down, up and down all year long. it's definitely been different. the late start of the race from being in october, that's, i think, set things different, too. that's about it. >> michael, thank you very much. robert, of course, jim acosta and mark preston as well. we appreciate all of you. just 32 hours to go before voting begins in new hampshire. cnn will have full coverage of all the late campaign appearances. you can join the best political team on television, tuesday night for special coverage of the returns. then, of course, it is on to south carolina and florida and the next stops on the race to the white house. i'm don lemon at the cnn world headquarters in atlanta. more news right after this break. [ beep ] [ mom ] scooter?